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Sunday 23 July 2017

Election officials in Ecuador to recount 1.3 million votes

Guillermo Lasso, the opposition candidate defeated in Ecuador's elections, is demanding a recount (AP/Dolores Ochoa)
Guillermo Lasso, the opposition candidate defeated in Ecuador's elections, is demanding a recount (AP/Dolores Ochoa)

Election officials in Ecuador have agreed to recount nearly 1.3 million votes as opposition leader Guillermo Lasso continues to allege fraud in the presidential election.

The National Electoral Council said it would recount all ballots contested in complaints filed by both parties, about 10% of the total vote.

Official results from the small Andean nation's election on April 2 showed former banker Mr Lasso lost by less than three percentage points to Rafael Correa's hand-picked successor, Lenin Moreno.

International observers including the Organisation of American States have said they found no irregularities, though Mr Lasso claims his campaign found numerous inconsistencies and has refused to accept the official results.

Council president Juan Pablo Pozo said the recount was being conducted for "the tranquility of the country".

Mr Moreno campaigned on a platform of continuing Mr Correa's "citizens' revolution", with adjustments.

Mr Lasso put forward a pro-business agenda he said would lift Ecuador's slumping economy and generate jobs by attracting foreign investment and reducing taxes.

He filed a challenge to the election results on Wednesday, demanding a complete recount of every ballot cast.

He warned hours before the announcement he would not accept anything less than a full recount.

On Twitter, Mr Correa said the electoral council was taking extraordinary steps to "finish at once Lasso's show, for the elections the banker could not buy".

Ecuador's election was watched closely in Latin America as an indicator of whether the region would continue to shift right after recent conservative wins in countries including Peru and Argentina.

It was also watched closely by supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living at Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012.

Before the election, Mr Lasso said he would evict the Australian activist within 30 days of taking office. Mr Moreno said he would allow him to stay.

The recount is to take place on Tuesday in capital city Quito.

AP

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